Saturday, August 1, 2015

Westmist Session #99 - Kunth to Westmist to Kunth to Westmist ...

Having received and studied the pilfered volumes, Toi! lo proceeded (through his human intermediary) to lecture Kern and Erijay on Yg and how to defeat the aspects of the god. Only after first going into an in-depth and esoteric exposition on the  non-existence of the gods, of course. That said, Toi! lo noted that Yg was one of the so called “Loathsome Gods”, those first foul gods to be worshiped by mankind.Yg was particularly interesting as it consisted  of the three aspects of Yg, who could combine into one  super-powerful god with the abilities of the three individuals. Of the aspects themselves, he could find little of specific powers. Very large and very strong. Some of the old texts told of sacrifices  swallowed whole, of poison bites and venomous spit, of the ability to charm  weak-willed humans. The three aspects were very difficult to fight, as all would  regenerate when injured.

As for the motivation of the god, it's immediate goal would be to seek the third aspect. The real  driving force, however, would be the cult of Yg. It’s goal was to enslave the world in their dread god’s name, and although much weakened, the cult survives to this day (a fact neither Kern nor Erijay needed to be told).
Historically, most of the Loathsome Gods were bound and imprisoned with magic specifically designed for such a task. In particular the items known as “Fetters of the Gods”. These were powerful
artifacts which could place the god/creature in a magical stasis, unable to be  harmed but likewise unable to harm anyone or anything.  Destroying Yg would be  difficult, as it was one of the gods the heroes of old could not kill. However,  locate these “Fetters of the Gods” and it may be possible to re-imprison it. Each of the aspects need to be imprisoned separately; try to use one of the  artifacts on a combined Yg and it will split, leaving only one aspects bound. The final battles against many of the the gods and their cults took place in  what is now known as the “Wastes of the Loathsome Gods”, a land of bleak moor, hills and bog between the Black Spine Mountains and the Skaarl Sea. That  would be the most logical place to start looking for traces of the “Fetters”.

Erijay and Kern pondered this for awhile, and proceeded to ask the mighty slug-man a few more questions abut the “Wastes of the Loathsome Gods” and where to start their search in that barren land. Answers, however, were curtly not forthcoming. The great Toi! lo had kept his part of the bargain; any other questions would require further services! With little choice, unless they wanted to stumble around lost in a haunted land, the pair agreed. Once more Toi! lo asked them to recover some books, but this times from bandits rather than a rival ("Perfect Spreading of Merit" looked very relieved). A merchant caravan, carrying among other things books purchased by the slug-man from one of the arcane inhabitants of the Land of 1000 Wizards, had been ambushed 2 days ago on the Road of the High Sun. A pair of bearers had escaped to bring the news to the city, but the rest of the people and goods were lost. And Toi! lo wanted his books. Kern and Erijay had "Perfect Spreading of Merit" track down the bearers for questioning, and the two impoverished men confirmed the slug-man's story. They could provide little detail on the bandits other than they saw only men, no monsters. Kern paid the two men for their information (unintentionally once more committing a social faux pax), and they returned to Toi! lo's archive.  Kern and Erijay agreed to the job, but informed the slug-man they had some personal business to attend to first.

That business was to go back through the gate and recover Bjorn's body, and hopefully have him raised from the dead. After confirming with "Perfect Spreading of Merit" that such a service could be found in Kunth, the duo had their minder take them out of the city and they headed up through the fields back to the magical gate. First, Erijay cast invisibility on herself and Kern. Then, inserting the gems, they once more activated the gate and passed through into their ruined cellar. Above was a small hole through which daylight filtered and rubble could be seen, and the sounds of someone moving around could be heard. The sounds were far off, so Kern boosted Erijay up to climb out of the hole. Unfortunately, the elf grabbed a loose bit of timber and a pile of wood and stone tumbled down on the pair. This attracted some attention, and a trio of grimy and grim faces soon appeared above. Obviously townsfolk and obviously much worst for wear, the three peered into the hole for a bit, but moved on when they saw nothing of interest. Once the coast was clear, Erijay and Kern climbed out of the cellar and looked around. The scene was one of almost total devastation. On the hill to the southeast lay the tumbled ruins of Westmist Keep, and on the southwest hill was the ruins of the Temple of the Three Virtues. Much of the rest of the town was likewise in ruin, and a significant portion of the northern and western walls were destroyed. A few clusters of townsfolk seemed to be working on repairing the wall (one led by the unmistakably ugly Lanthan the Undervirtue), and a few others picked through the ruins. But there were not many to be seen.
The two did not linger long, however, but made their way quickly to the Keep. Luckily, Bjorn still lay where they'd left him, wrapped in his cloak. The picked up the rather ripe body and made their way back to the gate. There, they first disguised the gate it as best they could, to prevent any one else from finding it, and then slipped back through the portal to Kunth. Making their way back to the city, they were met by "Perfect Spreading of Merit", who led them to the high philosopher of the "Path of Truth and Knowledge to and of All". Kern was a little underwhelmed when he was presented to a short dirty man in a loin cloth, living in a filthy hovel in  slum. However, the merchant was convinced to turn over the requisite gift of jewelery and gems to the little man, who proceeded to burn incense and chant of the magic users remains. And it worked, for Bjorn was drawn back from the dead once more, arriving spitting mad, plus dazed and confused. Kern explained where they were and what had happened, then they brought him back to the Foreign Quarter and rented rooms so he could rest and recover. Knowing the lawless nature of the Quarter, Kern also hired a pair of big Skaarling mercenaries to guard their countrymen while he and Erijay went about their business.

That business involved going back to Westmist once more, for the pair had remembered the pit full of gold left behind in the ruined Yg temple. After first spending a few days in preparations and shopping for some spell scrolls, the two set off once more to the gate and back to Westmist. They went invisible once more, which was good as the town was not as quiet this time. Arriving back in their old cellar, they could now hear screams and faint sounds of battle in the ruins above. Climbing above ground, they could see the barbarians of the Ram tribe moving through the ruins, cutting down anyone who resisted and hauling away others as prisoners! Kern agonized over intervening, since he was the chief's brother in law. Erijay pointed out that given his wife's history of offing unwanted husbands, he might not be welcomed with open arms. Especially as the tribeès relocation didnèt go quite as planned. Agreeing with the elf, Kern went along with the original plan: looting. They headed back to the Keep and the temple. Erijay took the magic chest from Kern. The elf flew down into the pit recently vacated by the aspect of Yg, and started to shovel coins into the chest until full. This was repeated twice, which the first lot getting hidden in the secret safe back in the old cellar; for future recovery. On the second trip, Erijay was attacked by a shadowy snake-like thing as she flew out of the pit, but was able to soar away safely on the wings of magic. With the chest now full, the two took care to avoid the fighting, and scurried back to the gate. There, Erijay used a scoll of hallucinatory terrain to disguise the ruined cellar to avoid it's discovery, and the two then headed back through to Kunth.
There, they finally headed out along the Road of the High Sun to recover the books for the slug-man. Purchasing a pair of horses, they made it to the ambush site in a single day. At this point, the wooded hills came close to the river, forcing the road into a narrow defile between high land and water. Kern looked around, and was able to find traces of tracks heading up into the wooded hills. The two hitched their horses to a tree, and followed the faint traces into the shrubs. On the other side, they found a rough but clear cart track winding its way up the hill. Following it for about an hour, the trees thinned and they could see above them a ruined keep nestled at the base of a high cliff. There were no sign of of any occupants, but they were pretty sure they'd found the bandit hideout ...

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